The auditorium is cold. A couple people scattered about the theater are bundled up to keep
warm. However, onstage the actors are more than warm, often sweating, under the lights. This is a glimpse into professional theater company The Modern Theater's production of Lucky Me, which opened January 1st in Spokane. Any artistic product, no matter the scope, involves a lot of hard work from people who care deeply about their craft. In the greater Spokane area, art flourishes under a community of those people.
At the helm of Lucky Me is director Wes Deitrick. If the name sounds familiar it is because you can see him in episodes one and three of Mr. Dark as the Captain. During the filming of episode three Wes had to put in some long hours and late nights, going from onstage at The Modern Theater's production of Other Desert Cities to filming at Mr. Dark's location until the AM. This is an example of the dedication that is at the core of the artistic community in Spokane.
Emily Jones plays the titular role of the “Lucky Me,” Sara Fine. A working actress with Mitchell Artist Management as well as a mother, Emily has been a part of the community in a big way. At Spokane Civic Theater, she was in Fiddler on the Roof and Les Miserables. At the Coeur D'Alene location of The Modern Theater she was seen in God of Carnage. Just this morning, KPBX 91.1 Spokane had a radio promotion for Lucky Me that Emily would have loved to have been at, but was previously booked for a commercial. Her commute is from South Spokane, about an hour away from downtown. Sean Curran, who plays Yuri the landlord, makes the commute to Spokane from Coeur D'Alene for the show. The artistic community here is just as broad as it is deep.
Rick Boal is Sara's father, Leo Fine. He commands a leadership role at The Modern Theater as its Director of Development and is also a SAG actor. If you attend theater in the Inland Northwest, chances are you have seen Rick. His attendance and support of the community is unparalleled. A big aspect of a thriving artistic community is a desire to be involved in every way, especially from the viewing side. This was reflected by the Mr. Dark fans at its premiere at The Magic Lantern.
One night, the cast and crew were discussing some of the blood effects and Teko Dumoulin, the Stage Manager for Lucky Me, suggested Amy Calkins, who had been a part of the effects for Mr. Dark. Teko was not a part of the Mr. Dark process, but his suggestion outlines the reach and support in this community. Part of episode three were even filmed at The Modern Theater's Spokane location.
Having been a part of this community going on a decade now, it has been remarkable to see it grow. I have worked with less than half of the cast and crew of Lucky me previously. From Stage Managing Les Miserables at Lake City Playhouse before it became The Modern Theater, to playing iconic Kevin Spacey role John Williamson in Glengarry Glen Ross at Spokane's Stage Left Theater, I have been blessed with many chances to create the art I love right where I live. Last season I was offered the position of Assistant Director for Ignite! Community Theater's production of Steve Martin's The Underpants, which was one of several I have had to work with our Mr. Dark, Jason A. Young. He is an avid member of the theater in addition to all of the time he puts in working with JJH Productions. Spokane's artistic community is thriving, fueled by the dedication and support of its artists.
Lucky Me opens January 1st at The Modern Theater – Spokane. Its running dates are Jan 1-3, 7-10, 14-17. Tickets can be purchased here.
A podcast done with me and Rick Boal by KPBX 91.1 Spokane Public Radio.
"Lucky Me" photos taken by Daniel D Baumer.